To my pastor friends,
I know that you try really hard…you try harder than anyone really knows or even cares to know. There are areas of your calling that seem downright impossible. You stand at the edge of the assignment, consider the cost and find yourself feeling completely inadequate for the task at hand. Others don’t realize how weak you are; they don’t understand how you barely make it. They don’t drive home with you as you question your strength, your resolve, your ability to follow.
I know that you try really hard…and sometimes when you consider the days ahead, the cost seems just too much. You understand that this is not martyrdom; this is not the shedding of actual blood. But even so, the weight of your weakness becomes heavy on your heart; the scope of your calling feels as if it will crush you or at least mar everything that is still good, beautiful and gentle in your life.
I know that you try really hard…you hunger for praise. You hunger to hear the Father’s heart through the testimony of those you’ve so diligently tried to serve. You hunger for confirmation that you are engaged in holy work, sacred work, meaningful work that will last beyond the whims of the day. You yearn for confirmation that you are being poured out for a reason that is bigger than yourself.
To my pastor friends…I am so proud of you. You’ve chosen to pursue a path that is seldom understood or truly honored. You’ve chosen to follow a leading that perpetually contrasts the basic motivations of the world around you. You’ve been working hard, persisting in your labor, even as countless others abandon the field.
You work through the Summer, while others flee for the shade. You work through the Winter when the land is cold and barren. You work in the Spring, welcoming new marriages, new births and new fruit. You work through the Fall and watch as relationships wither and people fall apart. You work as the calendar turns. You work as the contentment of others ebbs and flows. You work as best you know how as you learn the secrets of the soil and the seed.
To my pastor friends…I am so proud of you. Today, in particular, I am very proud of you. Lift up your head, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Lift up your head, you are God’s chosen vessel. Lift up your head, you’ve chosen to enter the Holy of Holies. You’ve chosen to enter the Throne Room of God. You’ve chosen to pursue the heart of God and to abide. Your offering is beautiful…lift up your head.
We are not alone; we stand together in the presence of God. His pleasure abides in us and with us. The pleasure of God draws us together as we abide in the house of our loving Father. We are gathered in the protective grace of the Son and the empowering assurance of the Holy Spirit. We are drawn together and we are one.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers [and sisters] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1). Come, let us worship together.